James Crowe & Ty Sornberger - VI4 Scientists Doing Things

Dr. James Crowe and graduate student Ty Sornberger decorated suncatchers for their lab while we asked them some questions about their research!




Video Transcript

James (J): Do you like experiments?

Ty (T): I do.


VI4 Scientists Doing Things

T: I'm Ty Sornberger. I'm a graduate student in the Crowe lab.

J: And I'm James Crowe. I'm Director of the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center here in Nashville.

[What got you into science?]

T: So I guess the earliest that I knew I wanted to be in science was when I contracted the swine flu in 2009. I was out for about a month from school, but after I got better, even though I was a kid, I was still like what happened to me. So I started reading up on it a little bit and then when I went into college, I started studying immunology and I got to start working with flu.

[What does your lab study?]

J: Well, we are trying to get a better understanding of infectious diseases and how your body fights that. So we take blood from people who have survived particular infections and we sort through all the immune system cells and find antibodies, a molecule from your body and that kill viruses or inhibit viruses. And so that's what we're about. We're trying to understand antibodies and how they work to protect you against disease.

[What is your favorite experiment to run?]

T: I think it would be our xCELLigence assay. Which is ironic because I am teasing apart that exact essay right now.

J: It's not working?

T: Yeah, it's not working.

J: Sounds like fun.

T: Yes. But I will get it to work and that's the important thing.

J: There you go… Well, unfortunately, no one lets me work in the lab. I work in the lab and they say what does he want? Leave us alone, sort of thing. So, but when I did a lot of the work, I actually love the same test, a neutralization test for a virus. But I didn't like the fancy machine thing. What I like is what's called a plaque reduction test. And you end up with these plates that have thousands of little dots, you know, like just counting things. So, the whole point was to sit there for hours and hours and count these little dots and when the dots disappear, that's because the antibody was working. J: I like how if, if you do have OCD tendencies you can paint within the lines. It actually looks pretty good.